Dvar for Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)
Moshe’s father-in-law, Yitro, hears of all the wonderful things G-d has done for the Jews and brings Moshe’s wife and sons to meet Moshe in the desert. The Torah tells us that when Yitro arrives with Moshe’s wife and children, Moshe goes out to greet him (18:6). Why does Yitro need to notify Moshe that he is arriving? Why do we need to know that Yitro wants to be picked up? When describing Moshe and Yitro’s reunion, the Torah mentions no less than seven times that Yitro is Moshe’s father-in-law (18:1-12). Why is there such a focus on Yitro’s relation to Moshe?
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig suggests that Yitro’s subsequent implementation of a judicial system not only teaches Moshe how to delegate authority but also empowers people to develop relationships with those who know more than them. Yitro realized that the best way for people to achieve growth is to have friends and leaders that inspire them along that path. Yitro is referred to as Moshe’s father-in-law because he valued and strove for that intrinsic connection to someone greater than him, a connection he personally maximized the moment he arrived. The judicial system functionally eases Moshe’s burden and ultimately gives access to each other’s knowledge and expertise, helping us grow and inspire each other.